White Politicians, Are Y'all OK?

From Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s brain worm to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul's comments about Black kids from the Bronx, it's been a tough week for white folks in public service.
Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced that only he can defeat Donald Trump in the general election in November and demanded that President Joe Biden step aside.
Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced that only he can defeat Donald Trump in the general election in November and demanded that President Joe Biden step aside.
Lev Radin/Pacific Press via Getty Images

It’s been quite the week for white people in politics!

So far we’ve had porn actress Stormy Daniels’ testimony of the alleged sexual encounter between her and former President Donald Trump, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s blatantly racist comments about Black kids in the Bronx, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s brain worm, and House Speaker Mike Johnson’s useless integrity election proposal to prevent mythical undocumented immigrants from voting in elections.

And it’s only Friday.

Which brings me to the obvious question ― white politicians, are y’all OK?

The train isn’t just off the tracks, it’s driving down the street like a regular car, and everyone’s acting like everything is just fine. And I say this even in a post-Trump, apocalyptic, dystopian nightmare where king-size M&M’s cost damn near $5 — it’s been a hell of a week. And we have all learned to accept that the new normal is anything but.

Pre-Trump, this would’ve been a full month’s worth of news that would’ve included analysis, commentators from both sides of the aisle, flow charts and graphics. Now, it’s just a random week in May. Has anyone even looked to see if Mercury is in retrograde? Have you made wellness calls to your closest white politicians to see if in fact they are still of sound mind? It just seems that we all have learned to roll with the punches even when the punches include a dead worm in a presidential hopeful’s brain, and a porn actress spanking the former president’s butt with a rolled magazine.

On Tuesday, Trump was back in court and was so flustered during Daniels’ testimony of their alleged sexual encounter that he began cursing loud enough for the judge to hear. According to The Washington Post, New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan called Trump’s defense attorney Todd Blanche for a sidebar on Trump’s foul language inability to sit still.

“I understand that your client is upset at this point,” Merchan said, “but he is cursing audibly, and he is shaking his head visually, and that’s contemptuous. It has the potential to intimidate the witness, and the jury can see that.”

Trump is on trial for reportedly adjusting financial records to cover up some $130,000 hush money payments to Daniels. Trump denies that the two ever had sex. Daniels apparently explained the encounter with a bit too much detail and the judge was like, “Please stop.”

And none of this, not the trial, not the possible infidelity, not the possible payoff, not the lies, or the image of Daniels spanking the former president’s bottom with a rolled magazine (this reportedly happened during their encounter) has stopped Trump’s chances from possibly winning the White House. Because, America, are y’all OK?

I wish the part of my brain that knew about Daniels and Trump’s affair was eaten away by a worm, which brings me to The New York Times story that claimed in 2010 that Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was having some health complications including memory loss and mental fog. During a divorce deposition some two years later, Kennedy noted that his health issues were “caused by a worm that got into my brain and ate a portion of it and then died.” Kennedy noted at the time that the whole “worm ate my brain and subsequently died” had decreased his earning potential, and rightfully so.

And as if this news wasn’t wild enough, Kennedy, who is himself a spry 70-year-old, took to X (formerly Twitter) to send out this message: “I offer to eat 5 more brain worms and still beat President Trump and President Biden in a debate,” the post read. “I feel confident in the result even with a six-worm handicap.”

It would be the kind of news to laugh at if this man wasn’t trying to run the country. Granted he’s got about the same chance of being president as I do of being the starting point guard for the Washington Wizards, but the fact that he’s being taken somewhat seriously, despite making Trump look like a Rhodes scholar, is white privilege. He doesn’t even have to explain his nonsensical diagnosis; he can make light of it. Because privilege doesn’t require evidence.

Which is why Johnson and a bunch of Trump enthusiasts posing as congressmen took to the Capitol on Wednesday to introduce an “election integrity” bill. Despite no evidence of non-citizens voting in elections and laws already in place to prevent such a thing, Johnson is still grandstanding on this non-issue because well, he can.

“We all know, intuitively, that a lot of illegals are voting in federal elections,” Johnson said. “But it’s not been something that is easily provable. We don’t have that number. This legislation will allow us to do exactly that. It will prevent that from happening. And if someone tries to do it, it will now be unlawful within the states. We’ll have a mechanism to prove whether they are or not.”

It’s all imaginary fear, trumped up (pun intended) to explain away whatever new vanity project that politicians want to push. It’s sleight of hand that’s so effective their constituents don’t even have to believe it’s magic, they’re just taking the word of the magician that whatever was in front of them has disappeared.

Which leads to Hochul, you know the Democrat dressed in Republican clothing, who recently spoke at the Milken Institute Global Conference where at some point she opened her mouth to say: “Right now, we have young Black kids growing up in the Bronx who don’t even know what the word computer is. They don’t know, they don’t know these things.”

Yep, you read that correctly. Mythical Bronx Black kids, who despite growing up in the age of smart electronics, are poorly underfunded and under cared for, and wander the streets of the big city dressed in clothes worn only by Huckleberry Finn begging for soup. It’s a common troupe used by white politicians when they want to make a point about the disparity between Black children and their white counterparts. And it’s almost always untrue.

Hochul would apologize claiming that she misspoke.

“Of course Black children in the Bronx know what computers are — the problem is that they too often lack access to the technology needed to get on track to high-paying jobs in emerging industries like AI,” Hochul said. “That’s why I’ve been focused on increasing economic opportunity since Day One of my Administration, and will continue that fight to ensure every New Yorker has a shot at a good-paying job.”

The problem with this apology is that it doesn’t address why Black Bronx kids (which is really specific, btw) are this downtrodden lot in Hochul’s mind. It doesn’t explain why, in order to make her point that kids without access to technology education often fall behind, Black kids from the Bronx had to be thrown under the bus. It’s easy to dismiss the comment as stupid because it was, but the problem with all of these examples of flagrant whiteness is that no one ever truly has to own up to the damage they caused. It’s white privilege that allows for these slights, these damaging blows to both the ego and the confidence of the victims to go completely unpunished.

It’s white male privilege that allowed Trump to openly behave as a white supremacist and misogynist who was caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women without consequence, and he is still celebrated and revered. Trump is still positioned to possibly become president. It’s the same privilege that has him in a courtroom cursing and not sleeping on a prison cot for being held in contempt of court.

It’s a privilege to walk into a divorce deposition and claim that a worm ate part of your brain and not have to be forced to explain this. In fact, when it’s mentioned again, you just joke about it because, I mean, who hasn’t had a worm eat part of their brain.

It’s a privilege to continuously push a destructive fantasy narrative like undocumented citizens voting in elections when there isn’t one bit of data that supports this. Then imagine (because most of us will never know this level of delusion and power) to propose a bill stopping the thing that isn’t happening.

But the worst offender of them all is the privilege to willfully and aggressively create a false narrative about Black children to push an agenda. It is why I hate when politicians apologize for hurtful things they’ve said. Hochul isn’t sorry for her comments, she’s sorry that she may have lost votes come election time. She’s sorry that she may have hurt herself. But when it comes to Black kids in the Bronx not being smart enough to even know the word computer, she meant that, she’s just sorry that she said the quiet part out loud.

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